The gig economy is experiencing strong growth in Africa. Yet all this growth has not changed the status of workers who are seen as entrepreneurs rather than employees.
Because many of them, especially in the two-wheeled space, do not have access to certain financial services, being entrepreneurs is disadvantageous. Some gig platforms have tried to integrate financial services into their systems, but they are limited.
Meanwhile, other fintechs are offering a wider range of financial services to these gig workers (who, according to the Mastercard Foundation, are waiting to reach more than 80 million by 2030). ImaliPay is an example.
The company, which describes itself as a one-stop financial services platform, closed a $3 million debt and equity fundraising round.. The fintech raised an $800,000 pre-seed round in 2020.
This Was launched end of 2020 by Tatenda Furusa and Oluwasanmi Akinmusire after Furusa noticed the difficulties faced by carpool drivers in accessing working capital or emergencies like running out of fuel in Nairobi.
“A few things related to this point,” CEO Furusa told TechCrunch on a call when asked how the company got started.. “Once a Bolt driver ran out of fuel in Nairobi on my way back from the airport and couldn’t refuel immediately. It got me thinking about other pains these construction workers might be feeling,” he said.
“We researched the gig economy and found that they have been neglected by certain financial services. And we saw that we were Perfectly set on building a fintech solving the problems of gig economy workers in Africa, freelancers and freelance digital workers.
The ImaliPay pilot was based on Furusa Meet: A Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) fuel product, but for two-wheeled gig rigs, as the company has partnered with a few gas stations in Ibadan, Nigeria, to offer this service to SafeBoda users.
The startup proceeded to create an ecosystem of partners structured in such a way that some give it access to new users while others support its ecosystem and its marketplace.
“We have developed other services around spare parts, smartphones, power banks, savings and investments, and insurance bundled with these products,” Furusa said. “So, like accident covers and loss of income protection insurance, we intertwine these products so that construction workers can qualify for each product based on their transactional behavior.”
Concert platforms are principally responsible for the old. It has 15 partners in this category, including Bolt, Glovo, SWVL, Amitruck, Safeboda, Gokada and Max.ng.
But vendors dealing in fuel, spare parts, cell phones and other items gig workers need to function make up the latter.. The same goes for the platforms ImaliPay has partnered with to provide Additional financial services such as insurance (health and loss of income protection) and savings in Kenya and South Africa, in partnership with different concert platforms.
Collectively, they are about 35 and some of them include Lami, Cowrywise, Ola Energy, Total Energies, HiFi Corporation and Britam. It offers these financial services to the gig workers of this network by connecting its APIs to partner companies or directly via an independent application, chatbot, USSD.
In 15 months of operation, ImaliPay’s user base has grown 60 times. These site workers, who the company says number in the “tens of thousands,” access its services at 4,500 outlets. More than 200,000 transactions have been carried out on the ImaliPay platform. The pan-African integrated finance provider’s revenue comes from transaction and referral fees.
COO Akinmusire and Furusa met while working at Cellulant before launching ImaliPay. They received funding from the Google Black Founders Fund last October before closing this round, which welcomed participation from Leonnis Investments.
The round also received follow-up investors from venture capitalists such as Ten 13, Uncovered Fund, MyAsia VC, Jedar Capital, Logos Ventures, Plug N Play Ventures, Untapped Global, Latam Ventures, Cliff Angels, Chandaria Capital and Changecom . Angel investors like Keisuke Honda of KSK Angels and others from Serbia, Kenya and Norway participated.
The investment will be used to expand its 50-person team, strengthen its technology and explore new markets like Ghana and Egypt, the founders said.